Signals of uplift and deformation across the Tibetan Plateau associated with the Cenozoic India-Asia collision can be used to test debated deformation mechanism(s) and the growth history of the plateau. The spatio-temporal evolution of the Eastern Kunlun Range in northern Tibet provides a window for understanding the intracontinental tectonic evolution of the region. The Eastern Kunlun Range exposes the Cenozoic Kunlun left-slip fault and kinematically linked thrust belts. In this contribution, integrated field observations and apatite fission-track thermochronology were conducted to constrain the initiation ages of localized thrust faults and the exhumation history of the Eastern Kunlun Range. Our analyses reveal four stages of cooling of the Eastern Kunlun Range. We relate these four stages to the following interpreted tectonic evolution: (1) an initial period of early Cretaceous cooling and slow exhumation over the early Cenozoic, which is associated with the formation of a regional unconformity observed between Cretaceous strata and early Cenozoic sediments; (2) rapid Oligocene cooling that occurred at the eastern domain of the Eastern Kunlun Range related to the southern Qaidam thrusts; (3) extensive rapid cooling since the early-middle Miocene in most of the eastern-central domains and significant uplift of the entire range; and (4) a final pulse of rapid late Miocene-to-present cooling associated with the initiation of the Kunlun left-slip fault and dip-slip shortening at the western and eastern termination of the left-slip fault. Early Cenozoic deformation was distributed along the northern extent of the Tibetan Plateau, and overprinting out-of-sequence deformation migrated back to the south with the initiation of Miocene-to-present deformation in the Eastern Kunlun Range.

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